Embakasi IEBC official was abducted, kept in captivity then killed, say police

Daniel Mbolu Musyoka home in Lanet, Nakuru

Relatives and friends of the late Daniel Mbolu Musyoka mourning at his home in Lanet, Nakuru on August 16, 2022.  Mr Musyoka’s body was found in Kajiado after he went missing.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

The electoral official who went missing last Thursday was likely kept in captivity before he was murdered, because the body discovered on Monday had not decomposed and was intact despite being in an animal corridor in the forest.

Daniel Mbolu Musyoka, 53, vanished after he stepped out to answer a phone call at the Embakasi East tallying centre -- the East Africa School of Aviation -- last Thursday evening.

He was about to announce the results in the member of National Assembly and member of county assembly races for Embakasi East.

Witnesses say he excused himself from the tallying centre to pick a call around 9.40am, before he went missing. He was last seen leaving the tallying centre, heading to the nearby bus stop.

Mr Daniel Mbolu Musyoka IEBC

IEBC returning officer for Embakasi East Constituency, Mr Daniel Mbolu Musyoka, who was found dead after he disappeared while at work in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: Pool

After his disappearance, his deputy took over and announced the results.

Musyoka’s body was found by herders on the bed of a dry seasonal river in Kilombero Forest, at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.

The body was naked, but a track suit and a Maasai shuka lay some distance away. The body had fresh bruises on the neck, pointing to possible strangulation. The lower limbs were swollen but there were no visible injuries.

However, the body appeared fresh, according to Loitokitok Police Commander Shadrack Kiprop Rutto, suggesting that it had not been long since Musyoka was killed.

"We suspect the deceased was being held by his tormentors for a few days after his disappearance, only to kill him later. If the body had been dumped the day he went missing, it would have begun decomposing or it would have been devoured by wild animals,” said Mr Kiprop.

Identified the body

On Monday night, the victim’s sisters, Ms Mary Mwikali and Ms Ann Nduku, identified the body at the Loitokitok sub county mortuary.

"When we identified the body on Monday night, it was fresh, suggesting he was not killed the day he was abducted. He might have been killed a day before. We have lost our family source of hope," said a tearful Ms Nduku.

The poll official was the second born in a family of four.

The victim’s brother-in-law, Mr Jackson Muimi, asked for speedy investigations to find his killers.

"We want the investigation to be expedited to bring the culprits to book," Mr Muimi told the Nation.

Further investigation

At 11am, detectives from the Forensic Unit at Embakasi, arrived at the mortuary for further investigation. They then went to the murder scene two kilometres from Loitokitok police station, towards the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The investigators spent nearly one-and-a-half hours combing the scene for evidence.

The area is a deserted picturesque scene. It is heavily forested, though drying up due to the ongoing drought. The shallow river bed under the thicket where the body lay is dry. It is evident herders roam the area in search of water and pasture for their livestock owing to the many livestock footprints. The body was stashed under shrubs on the river bed. There were displaced dry leaves at the scene.

The detectives will be seeking to use Musyoka’s missing mobile phone data to know the last person he spoke to and at what point the signal went off.

Mobile phone

The family said police reported that his mobile phone went off an hour after his disappearance in Mihang’o, in Utawala, around 10am.

"We are moving in earnest to obtain the deceased’s mobile phone data to trace his last calls. We suspect they were looking for information that they could only use when he was alive," a detective privy to the investigations told the Nation.

Detectives will be seeking to unravel how the election official’s body was found 220 kilometres away from his work station five days after he was last seen alive.

The journey from Embakasi to Loitokitok is a three- to four-hour drive, either on Mombasa road to Emali then Loitokitok or via the longer route of Nairobi-Kajiado town road, then the Mashuru-Loitokitok town road.

The body will remain at the Loitokitok mortuary awaiting post-mortem by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor.

When the Nation visited Musyoka’s home at Nyonjoro, Lanet, Nakuru County, friends and family had gathered to condole with the family.

Overwhelmed by grief

His wife, Ms Tabitha Musyoka, was overwhelmed by grief.

“I last spoke with him on Wednesday, August 10, at around 12 noon and he told me he was busy with preparing results after the August 9 General Election. We talked and l wished him well in his work,” she had told the Nation in an earlier interview on Sunday.

“When we talked he did not sound like a disturbed person. He did not complain about anything,” she said.

“The day he disappeared l attempted to reach him but my call was not answered. I was later informed by his cousin who lives in Utawala that he had gone missing,” added the wife.

“My husband left Nakuru for Nairobi a month ago and he told me he would come back after the August 9 General Election,” recalled Ms Musyoka.

Worked for IEBC for 13 years

Musyoka had worked for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for 13 years. He previously served in the Loitokitok IEBC office but was transferred to Embakasi East in May 2022.

He had requested his local church to pray for him because of the ‘challenging work of managing elections days before he met his death.

The revelations were made by Pastor Daniel Njuguna of (African Inland Church (AIC) Lanet Umoja, where Musyoka worshipped with his family.

“A few weeks ago, before the August 9 General Election, Mr Musyoka stood in church and asked us to pray for him because of the elections that were a month away. We prayed for him and wished him well as he travelled to Nairobi,” recalled Pastor Njuguna.

A choir member

At the AIC church in Lanet Umoja, Musyoka, who was fondly referred to as Baba Shiro, was a choir member.

“We demand justice for the family. I call upon the government to expedite investigations into his death to apprehend his killers,” said Ms Jane Wambui, a relative.

Neighbours who spoke with the Nation described Musyoka as a polite and hardworking family man.

"We shall really miss Musyoka. He was an outgoing and hardworking man who interacted well with a lot of people in this neighbourhood. The late Musyoka cherished, loved and meant a lot to his young family. His death has left a huge gap that will never be filled," Mr John Kamau, a neighbour, said.

Elite Special Service Unit roped in

Already, detectives from the Elite Special Service Unit have been roped into investigations into the death of the IEBC official.

On Monday, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati claimed that the Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Musyoka was among officials of the commission who had been profiled as a stalemate rocked the commission over the 2022 presidential results.

Mr Chebukati earlier revealed that Musyoka left his house at 9am in the company of his security guard and arrived at the tallying centre at 9.45am.

“He excused himself to make a phone call but did not return to the office. He has since been missing. I call upon the police to step up investigations to find him,” Mr Chebukati said at Bomas during an update on the presidential results.

Detectives from the Special Service Unit (SSU) together with officers from the Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau have visited the tallying centre where Musyoka was last seen and are investigating to establish the people he last communicated with.

Musyoka’s bodyguard from the Administration Police has also recorded a statement with the police.